- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case against his former deputy.

Tim Longmeyer pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge last month. Last week, Beshear announced he would file state charges against the former deputy attorney general. At first, Beshear said he would prosecute the case himself despite criticism from Republicans saying it was a conflict of interest. But Thursday Beshear said he would hand the case to Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland.

“Last week I showed my commitment to pursue public corruption regardless of the source,” Beshear said. “We are confident Mr. Cleveland will hold him accountable.”

Cleveland said the attorney general’s office asked him to take the case on Wednesday, citing a conflict of interest.

“I don’t know that much about the case at this point,” he said. “I don’t know what specifically I would be charging him with or what I would be prosecuting him for. I said, ‘Send me the file and I’ll take a look at what I can do.’ “

Longmeyer was the Personnel Cabinet secretary under former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, Andy Beshear’s father. Longmeyer pleaded guilty last month to using his influence to steer lucrative state contracts to a public relations firm in exchange for kickbacks of more than $200,000.

Prosecutors also said he directed some of that money to Beshear’s 2015 campaign for attorney general. An affidavit from an FBI agent said Andy Beshear had no knowledge of the scheme.

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